Nov 19, 2019
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Does anyone have any good examples of a non-traditional applicant personal statement?

I'm struggling with a few things.

First, every example I've seen has some central event or story that is the driving motivation for why they want to be a dentist - usually something from their childhood or teen years. That hasn't been my experience at all. It's been a slow, methodical accumulation of experiences and insights, but I cant effectively tell that story in 4500 characters. If I try to tell my full story, I dont feel like it really gives a ton of insight into who I am, and really only addresses "Why Dentistry?". If I try to include an in depth story reflecting on a couple events, who I am and why that has led me to dentistry, I dont feel like it tells my real story or addresses the big question on my application of why I chose to leave my previous career.

Second, how much should I talk about why I chose to leave my previous career? What initially sent me on a path looking for a new career (and eventually finding dentistry) was my dissatisfaction with my previous career. Should I not even touch on this and just go with a more detailed story of the little things that made me decide on dentistry? But, it wasn't just one event, it was a lot of little experiences and reflecting on who I am and what I want and value.

Any advice or solid PS examples from career changers and non-trads?
 

doc toothache

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Discussing why you hate your present job will make it sound like you are desperate to get out of a bad marriage.
 
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Blackca3

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Does anyone have any good examples of a non-traditional applicant personal statement?

I'm struggling with a few things.

First, every example I've seen has some central event or story that is the driving motivation for why they want to be a dentist - usually something from their childhood or teen years. That hasn't been my experience at all. It's been a slow, methodical accumulation of experiences and insights, but I cant effectively tell that story in 4500 characters. If I try to tell my full story, I dont feel like it really gives a ton of insight into who I am, and really only addresses "Why Dentistry?". If I try to include an in depth story reflecting on a couple events, who I am and why that has led me to dentistry, I dont feel like it tells my real story or addresses the big question on my application of why I chose to leave my previous career.

Second, how much should I talk about why I chose to leave my previous career? What initially sent me on a path looking for a new career (and eventually finding dentistry) was my dissatisfaction with my previous career. Should I not even touch on this and just go with a more detailed story of the little things that made me decide on dentistry? But, it wasn't just one event, it was a lot of little experiences and reflecting on who I am and what I want and value.

Any advice or solid PS examples from career changers and non-trads?
I spoke about why I chose to leave my previous career heavily in my personal statement and interviews and I didn’t have any problems. Just be professional in however you decide to address the downsides of your previous career/why you want a change and how you think dentistry will alleviate those issues and you should be fine.
 
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Blueshirts

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Make sure you don't focus on the negatives of your current career, but instead highlight some possible insights it gave to you as to what your character is as a person and how who you are as a person fits with the narrative with being a healthcare provider and providing service to others. When you go on interviews, it will be brought up, it is possible that you may be challenged on it, but don't be defensive about it (every interviewer is different though, so this is not a guaranteed situation).
 

cupbored

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Just think about what initially planted the seed that led you into dentistry. Elaborate on your experiences and relate it to dentistry somehow.
 
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Make sure you don't focus on the negatives of your current career, but instead highlight some possible insights it gave to you as to what your character is as a person and how who you are as a person fits with the narrative with being a healthcare provider and providing service to others. When you go on interviews, it will be brought up, it is possible that you may be challenged on it, but don't be defensive about it (every interviewer is different though, so this is not a guaranteed situation).

Is it a bad idea to spend 1/3 content talking about the non traditional decision making process in the statement? My friends who help me review my statement keep telling me I'm missing the point talking about my experiences before I decided to pursue a medical career (at age of 26), but I can't just say "I wanted to be a doctor because I love to help" blah blah with 10 years of study and work totally outside of the medical field!
 
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Blueshirts

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Is it a bad idea to spend 1/3 content talking about the non traditional decision making process in the statement? My friends who help me review my statement keep telling me I'm missing the point talking about my experiences before I decided to pursue a medical career (at age of 26), but I can't just say "I wanted to be a doctor because I love to help" blah blah with 10 years of study and work totally outside of the medical field!
I see what you are saying, it can be difficult figuring out how to convince a committee of something that may not seem objectively so obvious. I had the same approach as you when writing my essay, but ultimately decided against spending the little amount of space communicating that info in the essay section, and instead choose to focus on the questions of what dentistry means to me and people that i personally know, what excites me about dentistry, what character traits arr important in a dentist and then use examples of why i have belief in myself that i am that type of person, and then i rounded it out with a succint conclusion. This is just my opinion, but if you can express things that supercede job choicrs like character and personality, you can spend a short amount of essay space both proving why you fit the mold and when you realized who you were as a person and decided a healthcare profession was for you (keep in mind it is a people profession first and foremost). For reference, I was around the same age and was an accountant and still managed to get multiple interviews and get into school the 1st time around.
 
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